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Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Jim Schwab  

Pen Name: None

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Born: 1949 in Oceanside, NY

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Illinois Connection

Jim Schwab lives in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Schwab is a senior research associate with the American Planning Association in Chicago. His career reflects his double penchant. At the University of Iowa, he obtained master's degrees in both urban and regional planning and journalism. He has combined these skills in his writing, using the analytical skills of the planner and the narrative skills of the journalist to probe major social, economic, and environmental issues facing American society.His signature work as primary author, published in April 1999, is a guidance document for local planners of which he is the principal author, with contributions of case studies from four other authors. Co-published by the American Planning Association and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction (Planning Advisory Service Report No. 483/484) is, in the words of one of its prepublication reviewers, "likely to be the definitive work in this field for at least the next ten years." At the same time, APA also published his monograph, Planning and Zoning for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (PAS Report 484). His two books to date are Raising Less Corn and More Hell: Midwestern Farmers Speak Out and Deeper Shades of Green: The Rise of Blue-Collar and Minority Environmentalism in America. The first was essentially an oral history of the farm protest of the 1980s that challenged widespread farm bankruptcies and liquidations. The second examined the often invisible movement within African-American, Hispanic, and other minority communities, as well as white blue-collar neighborhoods, to fight industrial pollution and protect public health.Jim has written dozens of articles for national journals and magazines like The Nation, The Progressive, Country Journal, and Historic Preservation. From 1992-1996, he edited APA's environmental planning newsletter, Environment & Development; since 1990, he has also edited APA's Zoning News, a monthly newsletter on zoning issues. He was formerly assistant editor of APA's monthly magazine, Planning.He is a past President of the Society of Midland Authors (1997-99), and served in many capacities including as SMA's membership secretary and vice-president. And, he is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the American Institute of Certified Planners (a subsidiary of APA), and the Society of Professional Journalists.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Raising Less Corn and More Hell: Midwestern Farmers Speak Out
ISBN: 0252013980

University of Illinois Press. 1988

Midwestern farmers describe the current crisis in agriculture, federal farm policies, the long-range impact of farm foreclosures, and the tradition of the family farm

Sch-Deeper Shades of Green
ISBN: 0871564629

Random House, Inc.. 1994

Deeper Shades of Green documents the convergence of two great American movements -- conservation and the struggle for social justice. Environmentalists, once faulted for ignoring minorities and the poor, are recognizing the need to find common ground. Poor communities of all colors, the worst targets of pollution and waste-dumping, are perceiving that environmental ills are part of their larger fight. Spurred to action out of concern for their families' health and safety, they are bringing new energy and focus to mainstream conservation.

As a blue-collar college student, author Jim Schwab worked summers in a Midwest chemical plant and saw its toxic effects on fellow workers. As an environmentalist and urban planner, he was troubled by the relative absence of poor and nonwhite people in the conservation constituency. All that began to change, he recounts, with the landmark Love Canal case, which transformed a shy housewife named Lois Gibbs (who has Contributed a foreword to this book) into a nationally known citizen activist and gave impetus to other neighborhood struggles.

In evocative, hard-hitting reportage, Schwab profiles eight minority and blue-collar communities that rose up against environmental injustice -- in an African-American suburb of Chicago, Louisiana's notorious "Cancer Alley," and an Ohio mill town, among others -- in the process forging unprecedented bonds with national environmental groups. He notes the special place of Native Americans in this web of newfound allies: America's first victims of social injustice, they have been among the strongest voices linking abuse of the land with abuse of human rights.

In a later chapter, Schwab examines how industrial America can clean up its act, spotlighting progressive businesses and utilities, anti-pollution technologies, and other practical solutions. But change starts with people power, and that is his real subject: "African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, and blue-collar whites" joining together "in an environmental revival that is on the verge of shaking American politics at its roots."


Awards

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